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Saving lives, with condoms

A type of condom used by people unable to control their bladders is being utilised in a Kashmir hospital to regularise the flow of oxygen in life-saving oxygen cylinders.

india Updated: Dec 11, 2008 23:35 IST
Aurangzeb Naqshbandi

A type of condom used by people unable to control their bladders is being utilised in a Kashmir hospital to regularise the flow of oxygen in life-saving oxygen cylinders.

Authorities at the Sri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital — the main referral hospital of Kashmir and the foremost associated hospital of the Government Medical College, Srinagar — are using condom catheter instead of standard manometers in oxygen cylinders.

A Kashmiri doctor, working in West Asia, had taken pictures of oxygen cylinders fitted with these catheter condoms during his recent visit to the hospital.

“It is unacceptable. How can these catheter condoms regulate the flow of oxygen and remain sterilised? Infants and patients with respiratory problems can die of oxygen excess,” the doctor told Hindustan Times on condition of anonymity.

Hindustan Times repeatedly called up the SMHS medical superintendent, Dr Waseem Qureshi, on his mobile phone and landline, but nobody answered the calls.

Condom catheter is a useful and simple device for the control and treatment of urinary incontinence in men, particularly those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. A drainage tube is attached to the condom that allows the urine to pass into a urinary storage bag. The bag’s contents can later be emptied into the toilet.

The doctor said the oxygen flow had to be regularised as per the blood gases of the patients. Also, oxygen had to be humidified before delivery.

“Hospitals in Kashmir are decades behind as far as modern technology is concerned. I was ashamed to see all this,” he added.

Established in 1948 as a government-owned hospital, it claims to have well-organised and fully equipped diagnostic, therapeutic and support service departments.